Advocates of current US net neutrality rules scheduled protests at Verizon stores throughout the country to voice dissatisfaction at the operator’s perceived support of plans to overturn the regulations.

The protests are set to occur on 7 December, one week before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is due to vote on a plan to repeal restrictions preventing ISPs from blocking, throttling or prioritising internet content.

A website for the event, organised by Demand Progress; Fight For The Future and the FreePress Action Fund, indicated the groups chose Verizon as the target of their protest due to FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s ties to the operator.

“The new chairman of the FCC was a top lawyer at Verizon. Now he’s calling for a vote to kill net neutrality. We’re protesting at retail stores across the US to demand that Congress stop Verizon’s puppet FCC from destroying the internet as we know it.”

Verizon was quick to issue a statement supporting Pai’s proposal to scrap existing net neutrality regulations after it was unveiled earlier this week, albeit with the caveat users “should be able to access the internet when, where and how they choose”.

However, internet companies including Netflix, Facebook and Google pushed back against the FCC’s move, indicating both disappointment and even outright opposition to Pai’s plan.

Pai made no mention of the more than 22 million public comments filed in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking opened on the subject earlier this year.

In July, Pai noted the “raw number” of comments is “not as important as the substantive comments that are in the record”.